Film Friday Classic: The Mission

In the epic movie The Mission Mendoza is a slave trader racked with guilt about killing his brother in a duel. As a form of penance he elects to climb a huge waterfall, dragging his armour, his tools of his murderous trade, behind him. Here’s the last part of that scene.

In this instance it is powerful to see that those Mendoza was enslaving are the ones able to cut him free. But I’ve often said that scenes from movies, like any art form, can mean all kinds of things to us, depending on when we see them. And this scene of lugging a huge burden up a catastrophic hill is no exception. How often does life feel like this, as if we are battling against the odds, as if things are weighing us down, pulling us back, causing us to flounder. And there are days when we experience a cutting free. A liberation. But there are other days when we wrestle with the burdens again. I used to think that being a Christian was about getting all our problems solved. About reaching a pinnacle of happiness and plain sailing. But of course life isn’t like that. And if today you feel a little like Mendoza, struggling to climb that hill, you are not alone.

So many battle through life. Perhaps we all do. We all know the languages of failure and weakness and uphill struggles. And it’s worth keeping in mind that when Jesus stepped onto this planet he didn’t come with the intention of holding back, instead he threw himself into those climbs and struggles, not afraid of the jagged rocks and torn fingernails, so that he could help us, inspire us, give us extra strength and courage when we need it.

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